The Anna Westin House
The Anna Westin Foundation and Methodist Hospital Eating Disorders Institute have partnered to establish a premier long-term residential eating disorder treatment program for women. The Anna Westin House will be the only residential treatment center for eating disorders in Minnesota. This will be a quality seven day a week program integrating both traditional services and complementary services in a safe, nurturing, home-like environment that is affordable, competitively priced, and reimbursed by third party payers. A collaborative multidisciplinary team of health care providers has worked together in the planning and development of the program components. They include: The Anna Westin Foundation (AWF), Eating Disorders Institute (EDI), Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (BC/BC), Mayo Clinic, University of Minnesota Psychiatry, Emily Program, University of Minnesota Center for Spirituality and Healing along with several others including a patient representative. This residential treatment facility will fulfill an identified need in the continuum of care provided by the EDI as well as serve as a needed resource for many other programs.
Tragedy Turns to Hope
Anna Westin died on February 17, 2000 from anorexia nervosa. One of the many roadblocks to Anna’s recovery was the lack of adequate care provided by her insurance company. After her death, Anna’s family decided to do everything in their power to improve access to in-patient and residential care for people with eating disorders. They asked Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone and Minnesota Attorney Mike Hatch for help. They approached Dr. Joel Jahraus, Medical Director of Methodist Hospital Eating Disorders Institute, and asked him to join them in pursuing reimbursement for eating disorders treatment.
In October 2000 the Minnesota State Attorney General, Mike Hatch, filed a lawsuit against Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota for delaying, denying and withholding mental health, chemical dependency and eating disorder treatment to Minnesota children and young adults. The suit was successfully settled in June 2001and the result has been greatly improved access to care for Minnesota residents who suffer for eating disorders and other mental health concerns. The Westin family received a private out-of-court settlement from BC/BS that they donated to the Anna Westin Foundation for the development of a residential treatment center for women with eating disorders in Minnesota.
The Treatment Approach
The Anna Westin House program combines innovation in eating disorder treatment with ongoing evaluation through carefully designed outcome studies in an ongoing effort to provide effective, safe, and cost effective care.
Women with eating disorders can recover in a homelike, healing, supportive environment, and integrate with the community while staying at the Anna Westin House. Daily activities such as tending to the flowers in the garden are apart of the program. The care is long-term, structured, and highly regarded by health care organizations, regulatory bodies, and insurance companies. The care combines scientific evidenced based medicine, psychotherapy, and complementary therapies.
The Anna Westin Foundation and the Eating Disorders Institute will partner in the establishment of a residential center to add a much needed component to the full continuum of care for persons with eating disorders while actively networking with other eating disorder treatment centers and health care facilities locally and nationally. The components of the program include:
- Partnerships with the local community that integrate program elements into community services and functions to benefit the community and combat the isolation of the individual struggling with the eating disorder.
- A multidisciplinary team
- An experiential approach
- A non-exclusive model of therapy utilizing feminist, cognitive-behavioral, narrative and family therapies
- Working within a narrative language environment
- A holistic approach to programming integrating both traditional therapies and complementary services
- Continued evaluated and modification of programming according to current scientific evidence and outcome studies
The core program components include the following traditional and complementary therapies:
- Medical monitoring/nursing care to evaluate and monitor medical status
- Nutritional intervention and counseling to restore proper nutrition and accomplish weight restoration
- Psychiatric evaluation of co-morbidities and consideration of medications in treatment
- Psychotherapy in individual, group and family formats to help the individual reduce eating disorder symptoms and assist families in understanding how to help the individual recover
- Complementary and alternative therapies to relieve anxiety, improve body image and address spiritual well-being
- Exercise evaluation and therapy to assess physical conditioning and assist in developing healthy exercise routines
- Spiritual therapy to address issues of spiritual health through prayer, meditation, spiritual counseling, group discussions, and worship experiences as appropriate to the client’s beliefs
- Occupational/Experiential therapy to assist the individual in self-expression and in gaining assertiveness and symptom control while implementing what they have learned through community experiences including clothes shopping, grocery shopping and dining at restaurants
- Education/Schooling to allow the individual to continue to proceed with their formal academic experience in conjunction with local schools through tutoring or onsite classroom experience